A central topic in modern philosophy of religion. Religious sayings may appear to be mere superstition if they are taken as strict and literal representations of a supposed supernatural world. It is tempting therefore to interpret them differently, in terms of poetry, metaphor, analogy, fiction, expressions of attitude or simply as parts of ritual. Such reinterpretations appeal to intellectuals of a religious bent, but they have an element of ‘government house’ attitudes about them, since they seem to imply that the theologians know what ordinary people are doing, or ought to be doing, better than they themselves do. See also negative theology.